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Boat Accidents Caused by Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

By Ashton J. Hyde on April 24, 2016


The hand of a boater clutching a cup of beerMost people are familiar with the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the laws that are in place to discourage people from driving while intoxicated. However, many people are unaware that states have enacted equally strict laws prohibiting drinking while operating boats. Accidents and DUI are tragically common in Salt Lake City, UT, where cruising, water skiing, and exploration of the lake’s many beautiful islands attracts boaters from throughout the world. Too many preventable boat accidents occur each year due to people operating yachts, sailboats, fishing boats, sailboards, and other types of watercraft while under the influence of alcohol.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a boat accident caused by someone operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or if you have tragically lost a family member in such an accident, a boat accident lawyer from the law firm of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience and a history of success in handling boating accident claims such as yours, and they have the knowledge, skills, and resources to present the strongest case possible on your behalf.

Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane today to arrange for an evaluation of your boat accident case.

About Utah’s Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Laws

Laws regulating drinking and driving a land-based motor vehicle are referred to as driving under the influence, or DUI, laws. Laws regulating drinking and operating a watercraft are referred to as boating under the influence, or BUI, laws. While many people who operate boats think that drinking on the open water is perfectly safe, the United States Coast Guard has announced that drinking alcohol is actually “more hazardous on water than on land.” This is because the operators of boats are exposed to numerous elements, including sun, wind, and the motion caused by the sea, that can already heavily affect their equilibrium, perception, and judgment. Further impairment by alcohol can render them potentially lethal to themselves, their passengers, and others.

In the state of Utah, the operator of a boat is legally considered BUI if he or she has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 grams or higher. However, because of the many factors that can influence his or her ability to operate a boat even while sober, he or she may be considered BUI even if he or she has a blood alcohol level of less than 0.08 grams. If alcohol is suspected to have impaired the boat operator’s ability to operate his or her vessel to any degree, he or she can be charged with BUI.

Indeed, our attorneys can present a strong case against the boater responsible for injuring you or your loved one if he or she:

  • Had any alcohol in his or her system at the time of the accident.
  • Had an open or partially consumed container of alcohol within reach at the time of the accident.
  • Had been drinking alcohol within three hours of the accident (or longer, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed).
  • Was under 21 years old and consumed any alcohol at all.

Arrange for an Evaluation of Your Boat Accident Case

To arrange for an evaluation of your boat accident case, please contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC today.

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